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DTS200Y1 Lecture Notes - Franz Boas, Imagined Community, Linguistic System

Diaspora and Transnational Studies
Course Code
Kevin Lewis O' Neill

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DTS200 Lecture #2 Sept 18, 2012
Extra credit- attend the talk, email a 50 word summary of the talk, mention the color of the speaker’s
shirt, send email by midnight to:, tag the email speaker 1 event.
Short essay #1: how does the study of Diaspora and transnationalism provide a different perspective on
the world? Due Oct 23rd- two different kinds of map the next three lectures will help us answer this
- Social imaginary
- Imagined community
- Transnationalism
- Diaspora
- Methodological nationalism
- Sociological imagination- disapora study does not have an established imaginary it is more like
an experiment. This class will set up a framework with case studies but always returns to a basic
vocab which will help you think through this course.
- The world
o The world can be imagined in a number of ways
o This class will help us get beyond normative perspectives of the world
o Ex: coloured maps vs. flight maps
o i.e. flight maps
highlighted are points of connection and disconnection
- core of this class we will understand movement and connection
- Today
o understanding the coloured map and how it was made
o this as a representation:
Labels- country, capital etc...
o What we are trying to cultivate is that this is a representation of the world that can look
very different than other maps
o The difference between two maps is that flight maps documents flight patterns the
colour one has formed some of the basic assumptions that drive humanities and social
sciences. It has shaped modern governance, communities...
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o This colour map is also a real threat right now, because what this represents is not really
what we see today
- What the nation means
o Understand the colour map not just as a map but as a social imaginary
o Social imaginary
Charles Taylor
How people imagine their social existence, how ordinary people
imagine their social surroundings in images, stores and legends.
How is the colour map a social imaginary?
Borders do not always physically exist.
Denotes difference
Presuppose the culture in the country
Imagined sense of community and belonging in each colour
The map
Is a imagine, a story and a legend because it is a way we understand our
world and if this seems usual it hasn’t been
In terms of the social imaginary what appears in the colour maps is an
representation of difference, distinction and what we want to say is when the
modern map became the dominate there are wider representations than this
i.e. Igor Stranvinsky, Firebird (1910)
what do we see in terms of a social imaginary, definitive drum beats,
loud percussion moments that signify closer, glorification is some parts,
he is conducting and the style is very aggressive, puncuative, definitive
and profound. Makes sharp distinctions between sounds. Bright
boarders and clear distinctions are very similar.
Pablo picaso 1909
What do we have here with his factory- what is highlighted here is an
over exaggeration of units.
Bright borders, clean cut lines.
A linguistic system is a series of difference of sounds combined with a series of
differences of ideas- Ferdinand de Saussure 1916
What he shows is that language the way it works through difference is
that a sound imagine is connected to a word concept.
Phonetic distinctions.
Why are the tribes and nations of the world different, and how have the present
differences developed Franz Boas
Anthropology at its core is this question
In the picture there is a clear difference white guy and black men.
At the core is difference
o To study different people
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